Russia Expected to Set Record in Grain Exports This Year

Analysts are forecasting Russia’s grain production in 2017-18 at 134.9 million tonnes, the country’s largest crop in nearly 40 years, according to a recent Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This total includes 85 million tons of wheat, 20.2 million tons of barley, and 13.7 million tons of corn, the report said.

The report said analysts from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service/Moscow are forecasting a Russian grain harvest in 2018-19 of 128.2 million tons, including 76.7 million tons of wheat.

Pavel Skurikhin, president of the National Union of Grain Producers, believes that if weather conditions are favorable, it will be possible to achieve a total grain harvest close to last year’s level. However, agricultural producers are in a somewhat weak financial condition as a result of falling prices for grain last fall, due to the record grain harvest. This could affect producers’ purchase and use of chemical inputs and slow down the pace of spring sowing, he said.

On Thursday, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said the country is estimated to harvest 135.4 million tons of grain in 2017, up 12.2% in annual terms.=, according to TASS. Russian agricultural producers harvested 120.7 million tons of grain in 2016.

FAS/Moscow also increased the forecast of Russia’s wheat exports in 2017-18 from 35 million tons to 36 million, largely due to a record high grain harvest and continued demand for wheat in the world market. It also has raised the export forecast for corn by 7% to 4.5 million tons from its October update.

As of December 1, 2017, Russia’s total grain stocks were 52.6 million tons, the highest stock level observed on that date in the past eight years, due in part to the record crop this year. Almost 33.04 million tons of these stocks were held at agricultural enterprises. The remaining 19.5 million tons of stocks were at assembling and processing enterprises (elevators, warehouses and storage facilities of grain processing enterprises).